Academic Appeals Frequently Asked Questions for UK students
Who can I speak to for more advice about my appeal?
Education Advisers in the Student Advice Centre work for the Students’ Union and are independent. They will be able to advise first on whether they think that you have a case and, if so, on preparing an academic appeal. If you require advice on the operation of the appeals procedure please contact the Secretary to the Academic Appeals Committee by e-mail.
How long do I have to submit an academic appeal?
You must submit an academic appeal within one month of notification of the decision of the Board of Examiners. You should use the appeals form available in Section 1 of the Academic Appeals Procedure. Make sure that you read the form carefully and provide all the information requested. It is your responsibility to make the case, and to make it clearly; reviewers cannot make assumptions – you must spell out the cause and effect for them.
Your appeal should be submitted to the Secretary to the Academic Appeals Committee, Academic Processes, E Floor, Portland Building, University of Nottingham, University Park, NG7 2RD.
I had some extenuating circumstances which I did not tell anyone about – can I appeal?
Extenuating circumstances are NOT grounds for an appeal. If you submit an appeal on this basis you will simply be advised to refer your case to your School. The Extenuating Circumstances Procedure and Guidance will provide further information.
I felt that the mark I received in one piece of work should have been higher as I worked really hard – which ground for appeal should I appeal under?
Disagreeing with academic judgement does not constitute grounds for appeal. Examples of academic judgement include the mark, the pass or fail decision or the grade given by the person who is marking the piece of work.
If you are unhappy or disappointed with the mark you receive for a piece of work, you should seek feedback in line with the University’s feedback policy which may help you to understand how the mark was arrived at.
I am a PGR student and I feel that the supervision I received was inadequate and that this is why my thesis has not been accepted. What evidence do I require to be granted the right to resubmit?
This type of issue falls into the category of a complaint and should be made at the time of the difficulty. It is about your interaction with a member of staff, not about the assessment process. You may raise a complaint about the quality of the supervision through the Code of Practice for Student Complaints. It is usual for PGR students to raise concerns about their supervision prior to submission of their thesis.
I have concerns about the standard of teaching I have received or about a service provided by a support division – what should I do?
It is very unlikely that these concerns will constitute grounds for appeal. Remember that an appeal is about the point at which the Board of Examiners made a decision about your progress; however you may wish to make a complaint about the level of service received. You should wherever possible seek to resolve these informally with the person or persons best able to do so. If informal resolution is not possible you may wish to make a formal complaint, in which case you may find the Code of Practice for Student Complaints helpful.
How long will it take for my appeal to be resolved?
Every appeal is different and there are no specific timescales for the resolution of a case or for the different stages of the process. We aim to let students know the outcome of their appeal as quickly as possible but do need to take time to give due consideration to each case. You can find details of the different stages of the process in the Academic Appeals Policy and we will keep you up to date with the progress of your appeal. We would normally expect the hearing of an appeal to be completed within 4 months of receipt of the appeal form but some cases will take longer than this to resolve.
How will my appeal be considered?
The first formal stage of the procedure is consideration by the Secretary to the Academic Appeals Committee.
The Secretary may reject a case if it is clear that the circumstances claimed do not constitute sufficient grounds for an appeal.
If the Secretary believes there may be grounds for an appeal, a response will be requested from the student’s School.
The School has the option to change the original recommendation, in which case you will be informed of this decision.
Alternatively the School can confirm its original recommendation, in which case the written response will be sent to you and you will be given the opportunity to comment. The full case is then referred to a staff member of the Academic Appeals Committee for review.
If the member of Academic Appeals Committee believes the case is insufficient then the appeal will be rejected.
If the member of Academic Appeals Committee believes that grounds for an appeal may be established the case will be referred to a hearing of the Academic Appeals Committee.
What happens at an Academic Appeals Committee Hearing?
The Panel at an Academic Appeals Committee Hearing is usually made up of two academic staff members of the Academic Appeals Committee and one student delegate nominated by the Students’ Union. The members of the Panel will not have had any prior involvement with your case. In some cases it is not possible for a student delegate or Sabbatical Officer of the Student’s Union to be on the Panel, for example during exam periods. In these cases a third academic staff member of the Academic Appeals Committee will complete the Panel.
Before the hearing all attendees, including the School Representative, will be sent a complete copy of all papers relating to the appeal. On the day of the appeal the Chair will ensure that both you and the School have the opportunity to state your case and ask questions of each other. The Panel’s decision will be made on the basis of information available to them on the day.
You are entitled to have a person of your choosing attend the hearing with you. This person may not be a solicitor or other legal representative. Many students choose to ask an Education Adviser from the Students’ Union to accompany them.
Can an Academic Appeals Committee Hearing Panel raise my grade?
The Panel can require that the recommendation be reconsidered in the light of its findings at the hearing, and may either refer the case back to the original decision making body or to the Chair of the Academic Appeals and Offences Committee, depending on the circumstances of the appeal.
I have an ongoing appeal. Can I still continue on my programme of study?
If there has been a decision to terminate your programme of study, then you are no longer a registered student of the University and therefore will not be able to collect your grant or apply for a student loan. It may be sensible for you to try to keep up with your studies in the hope that your appeal will be successful. Your School may assist you in this by allowing you to continue attending lectures or clinical placements, but this is at their discretion. In order to minimise any difficulties arising from this situation, we will make every effort to process your appeal as quickly as possible. However, it is essential that proper consideration be given to your appeal to ensure that the correct decision is made; in some cases this will inevitably take some weeks to achieve. Your assistance in providing information as concisely and as clearly as possible will help things progress as smoothly as possible.
If you are a finalist, please see the Quality Manual for more information about arrangements for graduation for degree class and change of award appeals.
I have received the outcome of my appeal and am still not satisfied; what are my options?
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your appeal you may be able to complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) providing that your complaint is eligible under its Rules. Guidance on submitting a complaint to the OIA and the OIA Complaint Form can also be found on the OIA’s website.
If your appeal has been rejected you will have been issued with a completion of procedures letter. Remember that the OIA expects students to have exhausted the University’s procedures before they can investigate a case.
If you consider that there has been a procedural irregularity which has disadvantaged you in the manner in which the appeal process has been conducted you may write to the Deputy Director (Academic Administration) of the Academic Services Division within 30 days of the being notified of the decision.
Guidance and advice about further steps should be sought, if required, from the Student Advice Centre.